By Cassie McClure
Published in the Las Cruces Sun-News 2/14/21
In December 2020, Las Cruces Fire Department (LCFD) learned that its Insurance Services Office (ISO) Inc. Public Protection Class 1 Rating would remain in effect for the City of Las Cruces (City) for at least another four years. The rating allows for lower property insurance rates for home and business owners within city limits. Part of the rating was to review the City’s water supply readiness prepared by Las Cruces Utilities (LCU).
To re-evaluate for the rating, the ISO began its performance review of the City in December 2019. ISO collects and analyzes the data using their Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS) and then creates a Public Protection Classification (PPC) grade, which is then assigned to the community.
The PPC program provides essential, up-to-date information about fire protection services throughout the country. The City first earned the ISO Class 1 Rating recognition in 2015 and it keeps Las Cruces in the top 10 percent of more than 39,000 fire departments rated.
ISO examines three categories and assigns scores. The LCFD’s score is worth 50 percent of the total. The City’s water supply accounts for 40 percent of the score, and the emergency communications - Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority (MVRDA) – accounts for 10 percent.
The review also allows for 5.50 additional points to be awarded for community risk reduction efforts, for which LCFD received 5.23 points for its work in fire education, fire code enforcement, and fire investigations. The overall score for Las Cruces was 92.42 out of 100 points.
LCU provided the following information to the LCFD’s rating submission:
- Field fire hydrant flow test results performed within the last five years,
- Fire flow test report for 50 locations within the city limits generated by the water distribution modeling program,
- Water distribution modeling program calibration certification,
- Fire hydrant maintenance schedule performed with in the last five years,
- Water distribution pump station and tank data, and
- Water supply and distribution map.
ISO reviews the water supply a community uses to determine the adequacy for fire suppression purposes. The water supply system is comprised of credit for the supply system, the hydrant size, type and installation, and the inspection and flow testing of hydrants.
“Water supply includes the inspection and flow testing of hydrants, alternative water supply operations, and an evaluation of the amount of available water compared with the amount needed to suppress fires up to 3,500 gallons per minute,” Ronald Borunda, LCU interim deputy director Water, said.
“We are happy to collaborate with LCFD and MVRDA to show the readiness of our city to respond to emergencies,” Borunda said. “Our strong water supply system ensures the ISO Class 1 Rating, but also is a peace of mind for residents about the safety of their families.”
LCU can be reached at 575-528-3500 from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. LCU provides services to approximately 100,000 Las Cruces residents and businesses.
PHOTO 1: The field fire hydrant flow tests are used to calibrate the model that LCU submits to LCFD to show its water supply readiness and help maintain the City’s ISO rating.